Monday, December 11, 2006

Looks like I'm going Beta

just logged in and got the message from Blogger that it's my turn to change over to Beta - having heard some nightmare stories and knowing the amount of tweaking that I've done to my present blog I am not rushing into this overnight, I need a few days to copy all the bits I've added and do some more reading up.

just warning you incase things start looking weird
...if anything drastic happens and I totally disappear, check my web site at
Gramarye and I'll put a note up there to let you know what's happened

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Agapanthus time

Aggie time

I know when the anniversary of my mum's death is coming up because the agapanthus bloom.
In the last couple of weeks of her life I'd take her for a walk in my garden, frail, fragile, she'd stop at the agapanthus, which were just nose high for her, she would smell them and say 'beautiful'

Years before she'd joke about how she had no sense of smell and aggies don't have perfume, but there was enough of her fading mind left to know that flowers should have a scent and she loved them all.
At her funeral in the middle of the service, all the floral sheaths around the coffin slowly toppled sideways and we knew she was re-arranging them - never could resist having a fiddle with things me mum.

So each December, when the first aggie blooms in my garden, I stand in front of it and have a little cry, and then I get on with life.....

but I miss my mum

Aggie time
Aggie time
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Friday, December 01, 2006

Territorial frog

We have a homing frog in the little fernery next to the house,
I have a waterwell pot with a scraggy looking fishbone fern, it's been there for years and is pretty ordinary, sometimes I remember to water it and fill the well.

Waterwells have a black plastic tube running from the top of the pot into the well at the bottom, if you keep the well full then the water is supposed to draw up into the bottom of the pot keeping the plant watered but not too wet.

I was pouring water down the tube when I noticed a little leg scrabbling on the clear side of the well, there was a frog inside the tube.
I carefully unscrewed the well and took him up to the pond in the new fernery, nice cool dank with water hyacinths and weed already for a frog inhabitant.

A few days later, filling the well again (it's been hot!) he's back in the tube - don't ask how I know it's the same frog, I just do!
Took him out again and back to the pond.

You guessed it! he's back in the pot.
How on earth he navigates his way across our yard and into the same pot beats me.
He probably curses me when I go out to water, "here's comes that damn woman again, I hope she leaves me alone this time"

so I have....

and you will just have to take my word for it that this is a frog's bum....

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Travel: Wine and quilts at Mittagong

We haven't had a Sunday drive for a while so when my quilting teacher, Carolyn Sullivan, told us she had a quilt in an exhibition at a winery, I thought what could be better than visiting both his and my favourite subjects on the same day.
We hopped onto the new-ish M7 expressway and headed south, I haven't been on this road before, it cuts out loads of traffic and lights but, like all expressways, is SO boring
on the M7 heading south

In no time at all, we were off the main road and on the dirt track to Bou-saada Vineyard at Mittagong.

the road to Bou-saada Winery, Mittagong

Bou-saada Winery, Mittagong

We had stopped at Mittagong RSL for lunch but found that we could have had lunch at the winery.

Bou-saada Winery, Mittagong

Bou-saada Winery, Mittagong

here are the quilts and a corner of the gallery

Wine and quilts

Outside the grape vines were looking very green but the rest of the countryside was brown and dry, we saw cattle and sheep on farms picking at what looked like dead clumps of grass in red earth paddocks. On the news last night was an article on how the farmers are getting $600 per steer and we are paying $2000 in the supermarkets for the meat.

Bou-saada Winery, Mittagong

We found this little group of gnomes having a game of cricket, with the bush fires still around Sydney I won't jinx these little guys by mentioning Ashes.

Cricketing gnomes

Bou-saada also grows proteas

Bou-saada Winery, Mittagong

Bou-saada Winery, Mittagong

I went to look at the quilts while he had a wine tasting at the cellar door...I came out just in time to see the credit card being handed over for a carton of wine......mmmmmm, now where have I put that brochure about the embellisher machine......

we then cruised on to Berrima but I might do that one later.
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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Blue Mountain fires

As I've been uploading the shadehouse photos to flickr and writing the last entry, I've had the radio on, the bushfires raging in the Grose Valley of the Blue Mountains has again jumped containment lines and is threatening the small towns of Hazlebrook and Linden. It started 10 days ago from lightning strikes in inaccessable country.

The sky over Sydney is brown with smoke and the wind is hot and fierce.

So far no properties have been lost but it's getting closer to built up areas.

...and the native animal losses we will probably never know, except for those who are found with burns.

It's not just the Blue Mountains, there are about 60 separate fires being fought around the state.

Summer in Australia isn't all surf and beaches.

reports on the Sydney Morning Herald site

The tale of the cats and the shadehouse - part two

When you take a break from blogging for whatever reason it’s hard to get back into the swing of things, you think of things to blog about but feel a need to play catch up first, and so it keeps being put off.

So having left you all with part one of the cats and the shadehouse, I know you have been on tenterhooks waiting for the rest of the story.
Haven’t you.....say yes or I just won’t be able to go on....

We were offered an old shadehouse framework which was once in my sis-in-laws back garden but had been dismantled years ago and was taking up needed space.

frame arrives

It arrived with no instructions, brother in law gave us a vague notion of how it went together but it soon developed into a giant meccano set as we measured and imagined where the bits belonged.

meccano set

But where do the cats come into it I hear you ask?

A friend showed me the purpose built cattery that her daughter had installed in their backyard to give her Siamese some outdoor time.

It had a sort of raised mesh tunnel linking the sleeping quarters to the enclosed outdoor yard. It is after the style for sale here - these don’t come cheap you’ll notice, this girl paid about $2000 for hers.

Well, our little brats already had their garden apartment but I thought of linking it to the shadehouse with a raised run to give them some extra space…..not that they are particularly energetic, they spend most of the day in a prostrate position, it was just my guilt feelings for locking them up, guilt fed by looking at this site and thinking how hard done by our kids were in comparison.

First we had to find the right spot, not easy, we don’t have a lot of space, so we decided it should go here, my favourite spot for a chair, book and coffee.

the site for the shadehouse

One of my concerns was that I didn’t want to lose the big birds nest fern

birds nest fern

There was also an old melaleuca which had a lovely twisted trunk that I had been ducking under for years and would probably need a trim.

melaleuca before

When we measured, we found the melaleuca was in for the chop – this is not a sight I want to see in my garden very often – Tom the toolman with chainsaw in hand.

melaleuca gets the chop

space cleared for the shadehouse

We eventually had a relatively clear space, I tied up the birds nest and removed everything else that I could, then came the fun and games.

My husband has a *thing* about asking people for help, he’d rather struggle on his own with me holding up my end. Massive great sheets of weldmesh are not light and they sure don’t manoeuvre easily, we were able to carry the walls around into position but the roof had to be lifted on by going up and over the pool fence…..it was a stinky hot day, there was even a little local scrub fire, so the smell of smoke was in the air as well.
But..we did it...without too many injuries, minimum swearing and we are still talking to each other...

shadehouse frame

By this stage I was thinking bad thoughts about the cats.

Merlin inspected the space then went back to bed.

Merlin inspects the new shadehouse

Two little frogs inspected the space and decided they liked it.


It was then I decided it was for me and the frogs

I divided up the staghorns, replanted the bromeliads and the tree fern was happy to have its corset removed.

shadehousereplanted the bromeliadstree fern

We went to Bunnings and bought nice little table for two.

new table

and early morning sunlight with coffee is just wonderful

early morning sunlight

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The tale of the cats and the shadehouse - part one

I am not a cat person

(I can’t say or read that phrase without thinking of the Terry Pratchett book ‘Moving Pictures’ – the starring actress, when confronted by Gaspode the wonder dog, says she is a ‘cat person’, Gaspode under his breath, says ‘wash in your own spit, do you?’

start again, I’m not a cat person
When I was a teenager (mumble mumble years ago) we had a pure white tom cat who terrorised me when I came home late at night by bailing me up in the yard with claws drawn and refusing to let me in the house.
I also remember a neighbour calling over the fence that their cat just had kittens and two were white – no prize for guessing who dad was – this was before council registrations and de-sexing of cats.

Tom the cat was my mums’, although knowing cats better now, I think maybe she was his. Tom met the fate of most city cats who go on the prowl at night.

He was our only foray into cat ownership – after his demise, we as a family went back to owning dogs.

Until my son came home one day about eight years ago with the cutest little black and white kitten who was as smart as a tack, he named her Newton because she investigated everything til she figured it all out.

Because he was at work all day, I persuaded him to leave Newton with me through the day so she wouldn’t be lonely, he finally said “there is still one kitten left from litter if you want it, it’s the runt”

Who could resist that offer, the runt arrived, ginger and white and as placid and dumb as her sister was bright. I named her Merlin before we found out she was a girl. The two little sisters finally settled at my house when son moved.

Merlin and Newton
Merlin and Newton
Merlin sleeping it off
Merlin clock watching

Then I made a big mistake while visiting friends with a Siamese.


I’d never come across a Siamese before, I guess I was attracted to it by its’ doglike qualities, and I foolishly joked ‘hey, if you ever want to get rid of your cat……..’

Si arrived complete with his own litter box when the friends were moving, (and after all their other friends had turned him down)

Si the psycho Siamese proceeded to terrorise our two little girls, hiding behind corners and jumping out at them, and he wouldn’t just move away from the dog, he would come out fighting.
Newton hated him, she hissed and spat when he came near, it all became too much for her and one night she just didn’t come home.
We never found her, what ever happened I just hope it was quick.

Si, Newton and Merlin

Then both Si and Merlin started to mark their territory the only way a cat knows how…inside the house, so they were booted out, and only came into our back sunroom to be locked up for the night.

Every morning I washed down the sunroom walls til I was at screaming point.

I had Si’s bags packed so many times for a one way trip to the vet but my softie husband always saved him.

They had to move out of the house, but I don’t believe in cats roaming free all day and night but especially in the night, so they had a garden apartment built for them, the old cubby house was fitted with snug beds and litter box and food table and access to an enclosed yard with outside climbing shelves and sand tray.

the cattery

the cattery

At this stage softie husband was starting to say things like ‘a piece of lead in the ear would be easier’ (inserted with a .22)

the cattery

So now they are allowed out most days for a stroll around the neighbourhood (they don’t go far) rainy days they stay confined and at night they are always locked up when they come home for tea.

I don’t like this arrangement – every pet we’ve had has always been part of the family with access to the house (and me) and I don’t see the point of keeping animals if they have to stay in the yard, but unable to break them of their spraying inside, there’s been no alternative.

...and I feel guilty about leaving them locked in their pen too long, even though it's for their own good, and the good of the neighbourhood and wildlife......

To be continued…

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silver beet

silver beet

a week of heavy rain, unusually hot spring weather and the garden has gone beserk!
Look at the size of the silver beet, I don't think it's ever been so big, and it hasn't even had it's chicken poo yet!

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snug as a bug


I never wanted to be a bug
Until I found one safe and snug
In the velvet heart of a pale pink rose
With petals tucked about his toes.

Marion Lee 1945, "Lap of Luxury"

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Thursday, September 21, 2006


I've posted before about the first ducks of summer splashing down in our pool.
I wonder if these were the same ones as last year because they weren't at all timid and came straight over expecting some bread.

I won't back excuses for the swampy appearance of the pool - well, yes I will, it was windy and the jacarandah was still shedding leaves - and those weeds in the crack in the concrete... must have just sprouted, I'm sure they weren't there last week...

I tried the movie setting on my camera for the first time and uploaded it to YouTube - makes rivetting viewing (big grin)

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Red geranium leaves

What are they putting in our water these days??
(although my garden gets so little tap water it wouldn't matter, maybe it says something about our bath water)

Strolling around the garden I spotted this geranium with bright red leaves - I'm sure it has some dire portent but who cares, I like red



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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

paintbrush lily

paintbrush lily

I've been having a busy week with work to finish for my art quilt class, then the Stitches and Craft show in Sydney today and tomorrow I'm off to Parliament House to sit with the ATASDA textile exhibition, but on Saturday I had a lovely lunch in a friend's garden and took lots of photos of her spring blooms including this unusual paintbrush lily - a south african friend tells us she had them growing in SA and they are either Haemanthus coccineus or Scadoxus puniceus either way they belong to the Lily family: Amaryllidaceae

paintbrush lily

paintbrush lily

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The last rose or the first...

Everyone has been commenting on the strange behaviour of their plants.

Do we blame global warming ?
(I refuse to call it 'climate change' - that just sounds like moving to Nimbin)

Here in Sydney it's the last month of winter and my roses should be bare or at most just starting to shoot little leaf buds, but this miniature rose couldn't make up it's mind if it was late or early

the last rose of winter or the first of summer